Abstract

This study set out to empirically determine the current state of individual and household adaptation to climate change in the United Kingdom and how policy makers can improve on it. The study utilized both qualitative and quantitative approaches (mixed method). For the quantitative aspect of the study, a quota-sampling technique was employed in the selection of 650 respondents for the study using a well-structured questionnaire. The quota representation was based on age and gender. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and binary logit regression. In addition, qualitative content/topic analysis of an in-depth interview of the respondents was employed in further analyzing why and how policy makers can improve climate change adaptation. Findings from the study indicate the dire need for continued government support in household and individual adaptation in Leeds, and this support should also be encouraged in other cities where government intervention is low. Interventions in the form of subsidies, direct regulations, and public awareness are needed. The implementation of these measures is expected to generate a wide range of additional benefits to most vulnerable groups who should be central to the rapidly expanding climate change research and policy agenda in the United Kingdom.

Significance Statement

Evidence shows that periods of extremely cold winters have been perceived to have increased in frequency in the United Kingdom over the years. This points to the need to uncover what policy and behavioral adaptation measures required to improve individual and household adaptation measures to cold spells in the United Kingdom. We utilized both qualitative and quantitative approaches (mixed method) to find out the drivers and hindrances to adaptation against cold spells, using Leeds as a case study. We found out that over 70% of the respondents adopted all of the short-term coping strategies, whereas 55% did not indicate any changes in their behavior in response to cold spells. Also, government support, the prospect of relocation (people’s intention of leaving their home), and the high technicalities in installing adaptation tools significantly affect individuals’ tendency to adopt long-term coping strategies.

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